More than a million Australians have osteoporosis and a lack of calcium, exercise and vitamin D is often to blame.
Maintaining healthy bones is about getting plenty of calcium, exercising regularly and ensuring we have sufficient levels of vitamin D. If we don’t maintain healthy bones, we can develop osteoporosis, which occurs when our bones lose calcium and other minerals causing them to become fragile and likely to fracture. Osteoporosis affects over a million people in Australia and this number is expected to grow as our population ages.
To reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis, doctors recommend we eat plenty of calcium-rich foods such as dairy products, exercise regularly and practise safe sun exposure for adequate vitamin D production. This recipe for healthy bones is also the message behind Healthy Bones Action Week, an initiative of Dairy Australia.
Dairy Australia is the national services body for the dairy industry. Their role is to help farmers adapt to changes and to achieve a profitable, sustainable dairy industry.
It could be argued that they have a vested interest in promoting Healthy Bones Action Week, given that dairy foods are high in calcium, with milk, cheese and yoghurt supplying around 60% of our calcium needs. Nevertheless, bone health is an important message that needs to be heard and while they are obviously promoting their own products, Dairy Australia is also providing a valuable service to the community.
What is Healthy Bones Action Week?
Held every year in August, Healthy Bones Action Week urges Australians of all ages to take the three actions for building and maintaining healthy bones (calcium, exercise and vitamin D). And to reflect this, the events held during the week tend to focus on healthy eating and exercise in the great outdoors such as fun runs, sporting events and cooking competitions.
Schools are also encouraged to hold events of their own (primary school years are crucial for building strong bones) and health professionals are urged to display promotional material in their practices and to spread the healthy bones message amongst their clientele. The date for Healthy Bones Action Week 2017 is 7-13 August.
How can you get involved?
- Create a web page, post a blog or spread the healthy bones message online via your social media channels.
- If you have an event planned for August, consider moving it to Healthy Bones Action Week to help promote the cause.
- If you are over 50, talk to your doctor about your bone health and identify any risk factors for osteoporosis.
- If you are a health practitioner, display downloadable posters and banners in your clinic and talk to your patients about osteoporosis and maintaining healthy bones.
- Check out the Healthy Bones Action Week toolkit on the website. It contains newsletter inclusions, social media suggestions, images and a fact sheet.
- If you have a growing family, look at whether everyone is getting enough calcium, vitamin D and exercise. If not, make some healthy changes to your diet and routines.
- To find out more about Healthy Bones Action Week, go to www.healthybones.com.au/